- The Anti-trafficking Bill likely to be tabled in Parliament during monsoon session.
2. Key features of the draft Bill are given below:
- The Bill deals with trafficking and aggravated forms of trafficking.
- The trafficking category of crimes carry a jail term of seven to 10 years, while the aggravated form of trafficking carry a punishment of 10 years in jail to life imprisonment.
- Aggravated offences include trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, or where a survivor contracts HIV.
3. However, the activists and sex workers critising the Bill on the following grounds:
- It treats victims of human trafficking on par with adult persons in sex work
- It would lead to increase in violence against sex workers.
- If a sex worker is violated, she won’t be able to go to court because she will be immediately understood as exploited, trafficked and sent to rehabilitation.
- Failed to assure dignity to consenting adult sex workers.
- Forceful rehabilitation would deprive women of their source of livelihood.
- LGBTQ rights activist said “When a law prescribes life imprisonment for trafficking leading to AIDS or begging or injecting of hormones, it will ultimately lead to criminalization of trans-identities.”
- The Bill went against the basic tenets of rehabilitation as it did not distinguish between trafficking and sex work.
- It would be a roadblock in HIV prevention.
- Certain clauses in the Bill endanger freedom of expression.
4. Sex workers and activists demanding that the Bill should explicitly state that consenting adult workers will not be penalized under the new law.